Dig It: Water-Wise Landscaping
by Sage & Snow Garden Club
May 9, 2010
As we transition from winter many of us are getting ready to dig in. Considering the lack of snowfall one landscape plan to consider is Xeriscaping. Xeriscaping is a low-water landscaping alternative that anyone can introduce into their yard and planting beds. While Xeriscaping can save you money and time, it requires extra planning. Select some native plants to introduce into your landscape plans. These plants are most adapted to our climate and the extremes of the weather. It is important to remember that while native plants are water-wise it doesnít mean that they are drought proof and they can suffer from water stress. You may need to provide your plants with some water during extreme droughts and in the first season of planting so that they can become established.
One specific technique to try in your xeriscape is hydrozoning. This is a process of organizing your plants based upon their watering needs. So this means you can still have bedding plants, just think about where you are placing them. Plants with the highest water needs should be grouped together and closest to the water source. This also maximizes your watering efforts; you wonít be overwatering plants that donít need it. As you move away from your water source your plants should require less water.
Another tool to help conserve water and reduce weeds is to mulch. Mulch will lock in moisture, keep the soil cool and allows the plants to use it more efficiently. The mulch will also help capture rain and snow moisture, helping the water soak in. Before putting down your mulch, lay a weed barrier. However donít use simple black plastic sheeting as your weed barrier, it will prevent air and water exchange from above ground to the soil below. Use a rot-proof weed barrier cloth. There are several types of mulch available, depending on what you need and the look you want. When using gravel as mulch, be sure to use heat-loving plants.
So this spring before you head out and dig into the soil remember to take the time to assess your property and plan out your landscape. Define your garden and yard interests by asking yourself if your goal is vegetable gardening, rock gardening, perennial flowers, annual flowers, plantings for beneficial insects, butterflies and hummingbirds, a combination of these and/or any other use of your garden space. Preplanning can help assure your garden turns out like you envisioned.
The next Sage and Snow Garden Club meeting will be Tuesday, May 18 in the Sublette County Cooperative Extension Service Office, 621 South Pine St., Pinedale. We are back to our summer meeting time, so come at 4:30 pm for social time and 5:00 pm for the business meeting. Contact us at PO Box 2280, Pinedale, WY, 82941, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 859-8606. To find out more about the Garden Club, go to www.pindealeonline.com and click on the link under "clubs".